Central Market picture
Kyle Simourd/Flickr

Key Info

Ismael Valdés Vergara 900

Price & Hours

Free

Details

Shopping, Free Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

To get your seafood fix in Santiago, head straight to the Central Market (Mercado Central). Here, you'll find a festive atmosphere and top-grade fish. As you walk past the stalls and stands, you'll come across rarities like giant squid, sea urchin and barnacles, among other unconventional offerings. Venture to the center of the market to indulge in local cuisine — like ceviche and empanadas — as you listen to live music. Even if you're not a fan of seafood, the Central Market is worth a visit: You'll find an eclectic assortment of fruits, vegetables and spices here as well. As you eat your way through the stalls, don't forget to admire the surrounding architecture. Set beneath a wrought-iron ceiling raised in 1872, the market impresses as much with its lively ambiance as its setting.

Though some discerning foodies claim that this market lacks the exuberance of Europe's markets, such as Barcelona's Boqueria, most visitors agree the market is a treat for the senses. "It's fun to peruse the vendors' colorful stalls and watch the fishmongers in action as well as take in the hum of all the diners," exclaimed one TripAdvisor user. The Central Market sits just off of Ismael Vergara in Forest Park, to the east of Santiago's central district. You can reach the market via metro Line 2; the nearest station is Puente Cal y Canto. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, though stalls and restaurants open and close at various times. For further details, check out the market's website.

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More Best Things To Do in Santiago

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#1 Bellavista

Beckoning to an artsy crowd, the Bellavista neighborhood features graffiti-lined streets with cafes, art galleries and boutique shops. Here, you'll find inventive cocktail bars and eclectic eateries rubbing shoulders with antique homes and colonial mansions. Spend some time exploring La Chascona — the former home of celebrated poet Pablo Neruda — before scouring the Patio Bellavista shopping area for souvenirs. Also be sure to continue north to take in the scenery from Santiago's crown jewel: St. Christopher Hill, a nearly 3,000-foot high hill tucked inside Metropolitan Park.

The creative energy, trend-setting boutiques and laid-back vibes found in Bellavista make this a popular hangout spot among travelers and locals alike. And according to some recent visitors, the best way to experience it all is by wandering away from the main drag, Pío Nono. "This place is like an outdoor art museum. Between the colorful houses and the street art there seems to be a surprise around every corner," one TripAdvisor user said.

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Luigi Giarino/Flickr
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